This article is sponsored by StubHub.
Last month, fans of the emo-rock group My Chemical Romance made headlines after expressing their disgruntlement on social media over Ticketmaster’s faulty queue system, which screwed more than a few hopeful attendees out of buying a ticket to their highly anticipated reunion tour, even after waiting over an hour on the website.
This, however, is a gripe fans of the Korean mega group BTS, called ARMY, have had with the ticketing site for years. Ever since the group was playing at the small theater level years ago, tickets to their shows have been hard to get. ARMY even have a running joke that the members should attempt buying tickets for their own concert as a challenge for an episode of their YouTube series, Run BTS!, just so they can know the pain and stress they go through.
The competition for a ticket to see BTS live is strong, as they always play sold-out shows across the country. 2019’s “Love Yourself World Tour” and its “Speak Yourself” encore made BTS the top-grossing touring group of the year ahead of legends like The Rolling Stones and Metallica in the US. And this year’s followup — the “Map of the Soul Tour”, which kicks off in April — is already breaking records only one week after tickets went on sale. Receiving a major upgrade this year by almost doubling the number of US stops from last year’s tour, seven out of the 15 stadium shows are already sold out, including stops in Pasadena, Dallas, and Chicago.
Beyond official sales, secondary market ticket retailer StubHub saw almost twice as many tickets for the tour sell in just three days as the total amount sold for the Super Bowl. BTS is currently the top-selling artist on the website, outpacing the likes of Post Malone, Billie Eilish, and even the aforementioned, highly anticipated My Chemical Romance reunion tour.
Through a statement, the general manager of music and theatre for StubHub, Jeff Poirier, said, ”In fact, the BTS 2020 tour is driving demand unlike anything we’ve seen from a pop act in recent years, outperforming the on-sale demand of Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift, among others.”
When it comes to concert production, BTS only has themselves to outdo. Last year’s tour featured Jungkook flying over the audience during his solo performance of “Euphoria”, Jimin popping out of bubbles for “Serendipity”, inflatable sets, and Disneyland-level fireworks and pyrotechnics. In a recent corporate briefing, the group’s label, Big Hit Entertainment, revealed the enlistment of the design team Stufish Entertainment Architects (Beyoncé’s Coachella set and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”) for the “Map of the Soul Tour”. Big Hit also announced that fans will get to participate in festival-like experiences prior to the concerts — a feat previously exclusive to concerts held in Seoul — as well as theme hotels, pop-up stores, and exhibitions in touring cities dubbed “Tour Village”.
During last year’s end-of-the-year awards shows in Korea, BTS went all out with their revamped performances of their tour opener B-side “Dionysus”, which they included in a medley of their past hits. From a giant snake to their reinterpretation of an ancient Greek festival complete with harp players, real horses, Last Supper staging, and temple-like sets, the group have not only been foreshadowing the grandeur of their upcoming tour, but maybe even the new album’s theme as well. During one particular performance earlier this year, leader RM proclaimed on the intro “City Dionysus Begins”, further highlighting the song’s themes and concepts, and even implying that it doesn’t end as the new album approaches.
Through recent interviews, three new songs, and the teaser pictures for the upcoming album, BTS is signaling a darker, more introspective era for Map of the Soul: 7, which drops next week. Having advocated for youth throughout their entire discography, 7 seems to present a shift to more mature imagery and themes and recalls their history and prior releases put out by the act over their seven years together. Calling on Jungian theory for their Map of the Soul series, which explored the persona on the first installment, judging by the interlude “Shadow” and outro “Ego”, it seems BTS are reaching an understanding of who they are as people, both on and off the stage, and coming to terms with it.
“One message that penetrates the album as a whole is that you must face your inner shadows, but resist becoming submerged into its depths,” Suga said in a recent interview. “You must face it and move on forward.” For the teaser pictures, the members have used the chiaroscuro technique, appearing in strong, bright, and dark contrasting images to embody that messaging. Fans were quick to identify that as representing the coexistence of the brightness of Persona and the incoming darkness of 7.
How that will all translate into the “Map of the Soul Tour” remains to be seen, but what BTS has presented thus far is nothing short of epic and only raises the bar on what they’re capable of doing. They’ve been on a winning streak with their last three albums landing at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, and with the new album already selling over three million pre-order copies, Map of the Soul: 7 will undoubtedly follow suit. They’re already the biggest, most coveted band in the world and are leaving their mark in history. Getting to see them live is being able to be a part of it.
BTS kicks off the US leg of the “Map of the Soul Tour” in Santa Clara, California, on Apr. 25 and will be hitting Canada, Japan, and Europe. The album Map of the Soul: 7 comes out Feb. 21. The best tickets available can be found on StubHub.